We welcome the account taken by DFID and Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) of past scrutiny recommendations on economic development and work with the private sector. Ever since the publication of its Economic Development Strategy, DFID has continued to adapt its approach in response to recommendations by ICAI, for example developing new programmes and diagnostic tools with a greater emphasis on key thematic issues such as inclusion, gender equality and combating climate change.
The Economic Development Strategy cannot be a one-size-fits-all. It needs to avoid becoming either a set of bland aspirations or a straitjacket. This will be achieved by careful calibration to fit with, and meet, the specific demands and priorities of each individual country programme and the characteristics and ambitions of each developing country. We therefore welcome DFID’s focus on its country diagnostic tools and CDC’s emphasis on constant dialogue with DFID’s in-country, and sectoral, teams. We note the Department’s aim of standardising its diagnostic tools and look forward to the highest standards of inclusion, consultation and partnership becoming the benchmark.
Overall, we recommend that DFID maintains its focus on what will have the best and most equitable results for the poorest in the world and how trade and investment can best contribute to this; trade with the UK, including opportunities arising from exiting the EU; and trade with middle income countries, including opportunities promoted by the impact of the Prosperity Fund.
Published: 17 July 2018